Opinion: An important visit

Irish Times

March 24, 2018

By Martyn Turner

Confirmation this week that Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin next August is welcome news, in particular for the almost 4.5 million Catholics on the island.

While the drift away from the Catholic Church over the decades since Pope John Paul visited in 1979 is pronounced, as indeed is the case with the other churches in Ireland, it remains a fact that 78.3 per cent of people in the Republic identified themselves as Roman Catholic as recently as in the census of April 2016.

It showed, whether practising or otherwise, that the Catholic Church remains very much part of the DNA of a great majority of Irish people.

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